The Stigma of ADHD and Our Kids

6 years ago

Forgive my rant, but there is something really troubling me. Since realizing my son has a learning disability of some sort back in September 2008, I have been fired up about learning disabilities and how many children are crying out for help and are being overlooked. While I am still fired up about learning disabilities, I am obsessed with ADHD since my son's diagnosis of the disorder in November 2008.

UpwardAmazingly, after just a few short months, I was ready to announce his disability from the roof tops. I am not embarrassed or ashamed that my son has ADHD -- as society has taught me to be. In fact, I am now appalled when I run across a parent who feels their child's ADHD should be a closely-held family secret. I just want to smack them right across the back of the head -- this attitude does nothing to secure the health and happiness of the child.

Remember when you were about to give birth (or adopt) and everyone asked you what you wanted? What they were really asking was if you hoped for a boy or a girl, but you likely answered, "as long as it's healthy and happy, I don't care." Remember the "healthy and happy part?" Keeping your child's ADHD a secret is working against the one thing you hoped for your child before they were even a presence in your family.

You see, the more people who know about your child's ADHD, the more people that can do something to help your child. Even if it's just an extra word of encouragement or praise. By being open about their ADHD, we are not asking that our children be treated differently and we are certainly not asking for pity. We are asking that they are educated in a manner in which they learn best. We are asking for a hand up, not a hand out. We are asking that they aren't punished for behaviors they can't control. We are asking that they be judged and remembered for their talents and achievements, not their deficiencies or disability. We are asking that their spirit be lifted. We are asking that they can live their lives without shame. For teaching them to be shameful of their ADHD teaches them that you are ashamed of them. You aren't ashamed of your child, are you?

Our duty as mothers of children with ADHD, our duty to our ADHD children, is to speak out about ADHD and educate our communities and the breadth of society. Be involved in the ADHD community. Reach out to other parents of children with ADHD. Shout from the roof tops that your child has ADHD and you are proud of them and their achievements.

This is my mantra:

  • I choose to see my son's ADHD as a blessing, for he has always been a blessing in my life.
  • I choose to focus on his successes, not his failures.
  • I choose to be open about my son's ADHD and accept kindness, support, and services from all who can enrich his life and ensure his happiness.
  • I choose to release stress from our lives and go with the ADHD flow.

Won't you join me? We can make a difference for our children.

Penny Williams is the creator and editor of {a mom's view of ADHD}, where she and a group of moms write candidly about the challenges and joys of parenting a child with ADHD. 

Photo Credit: llimaorosa.

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